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acquaintance with such authors as best exemplify those attainments.”
1. Would not laws cover the whole ground ? 2. En passant I would remark that Dr. Townsend did not make these laws, though he so intimates. 3. I suggest the word justify in place of these four. 4. What is natural is easy ; easy, therefore, is superfluous. 5. If this means anything, it does not mean more than the adjective clear would express, if properly used in the sentence. 6. Approximate synonyms !! Who ever heard of any antagonistic or even of dissimilar synonyms ? 7. The transparency of this sentence is not unlike the transparency of corrugated glass. 8. What has morality to do with correctness ? 9. An intimate acquaintance would suffice for most people. 10. Those attainments! What are they? Dr. Townsend's corrugated style makes it hard to tell.
This paragraph is so badly conceived throughout that it is well-nigh impossible to make head, middle, or tail of it; still, if I am at all successful in guessing what Professor Townsend wanted to say in it, then-when shorn of its redundancy and high-flown emptiness—it will read some. what like this: “The laws thus far presented justify the general statement that a clear and natural mode of expression-together with that art of using appropriate figures and that ability properly to discriminate between synonyms that are necessary to correctness—is attained in two ways: (1) By mental discipline ; (2) By the study of our best authors."
The following sentence is from a leading magazine : “If we begin a system of interference, regulating men's gains, bolstering here, in order to strengthen this interest, [and] repressing elsewhere there), in order to equalize wealth, we shall do an [a] immense deal of mischief, and without bringing about a more agreeable condition of things than now [we] shall simply discourage enterprise, repress industry, and check material growth in all directions.” Read without the eighteen words in italics and with the four inclosed.
“Nothing disgusts sooner than the empty pomp of language."
“ The rule now," Godfrey Turner says, “is to speak as verbosely as possible. We say, 'A certain person informed me that such was the case,' when there was no case, when the person was not certain, when he may or may not have been a person, and when he neither did nor could inform. The old way of speaking would have been, 'somebody told me so.' This is sense and grammar; there are four words instead of ten to speak, sixteen letters instead of forty-two to write ; and, written or said, there is precision against gibberish."
Men that write in this manner never would have any idea of the true art of expression, if they were to continue to write till doomsday. They always lack that without which no man ever writes really well—the gift of clearseeing; a thing it would be impossible to convince them of, because they see what they see to see, and what they see they think is all there is to see. They belong to a class of persons that find felicity in ignorance, and they are commonly so panoplied with conceit that nothing can lessen their estimate of their merits.
Very. “In the third edition of Professor Maximilian Müller's Lectures on the Science of Language we are informed that 'in fact, very pleased and very delighted are Americanisms that may be heard even in this country.' ... The phrases just named become, however, in Professor Müller's fourth edition, simply 'expressions that may be heard in many drawing-rooms.' And there they were heard,
without question, four or five centuries ago.”-Fitz-Edward Hall. “ Before participles, very is followed by much, or, more rarely, by some nearly equivalent adverb."-Webster.
“This little word is often used in the English language when a sentence would be much stronger and the meaning much more forcible without it. If a man has not much hair on the top of his head, it is not enough for people to say simply that he is bald : he is very bald. A man is not stingy : he is very stingy-when the one good strong word 'stingy' would put the whole point forcibly. A doctor of divinity is not learned, but very learned ; a doctor of medicine is not crotchety-he is very crotchety; while a lawyer is not cunning, but very cunning. In the same way, a young lady is not handsome, but very handsome. The qualifier has become so common that it is weakening to the word it is joined to. In nine cases out of ten where very is used to intensify human speech, a single, bold word without the very would hit the meaning like a hammer, and drive it home with a directness unknown to clogged and hampered expression.
“Very seems to be a word designed by Providence for young ladies to express their feelings with. This portion of the community probably could not get on without their adverb, but the English of the rest of the race would be strengthened if the little qualifier were delegated almost wholly to the fair class to whom it belongs. It creeps into our literature as insidiously as the measles into a family of fifteen, and, once there, it stays like an office-seeker. It breaks out everywhere, even in the most high-toned and 'cultivated' writing. A newspaper that is authority on the art of literary composition prints, for instance, a thrilling description of a brilliant party. Every lady present was
very much this or that. Mrs. Blank, who was a very intimate friend of Mrs. General Dash, wore a very handsome green satin dress, and had a very handsome silver comb in her back hair. Mrs. General Dash wore an exceedingly becoming dress, which was very elaborately made. Two young ladies, whose dresses were exceedingly becoming and very graceful, were accompanied by a young man who had a very light mustache. Everybody was either very, or exceedingly, or most highly something. The air bristled with superlatives.
“ It combines instruction with amusement to count the veries in a column of newspaper advertisements. A ‘general housework' applicant is not content with being a respectable woman and a good cook; she is a very respectable woman and a very good cook. It is enough, in all conscience, to be said of a woman that she is a superior waitress. Superior itself means better than good, but this uncommon waitress tacks on the word very, too, and thus becomes very better than good.
“The climax of veriness is reached, however, by a girl. She is ‘a very competent cook, understands waiting at table in a very efficient manner, and is in all respects very first-class.' * In all respects very first-class qualifications' is good. It is only equaled by the young man who was a very perfect horseman and rode a very black horse. A fine example, too, of the redundant very is the reply of the old ter that was blown overboard at Trafalgar, and long afterward, being asked by a sympathetic lady how he felt on that occasion, answered, “Wet, ma'am, very wet.'”—Cincinnati Commercial.
Vice. See CRIME.
Vicinity. This word is sometimes incorrectly used without the possessive pronoun; thus, “Washington and
vicinity," instead of “Washington and its vicinity.” The primary meaning of vicinity is nearness, proximity.
Vicinity does not express so close a connection as neighborhood, which is employed more especially to inhabited places. Vicinity is employed to denote nearness of one locality to another. We could, therefore, say, “I live in a quiet neighborhood in the vicinity of Boston.”
“The Dutch, by the vicinity of their settlements to the coast, gradually engrossed the cocoa trade."
“When the house was discovered to be on fire, every one in the neighborhood hastened to give assistance.”
“For the thirty-six hours ending at 8 P. M. on Wednesday for New York and [its, or the] vicinity," etc.—N. Y. Evening Sun.
The morning Sun always writes, “and its vicinity.”
Vocation-Avocation. These words are frequently confounded. A man's vocation is his profession, his calling, his business; and his avocations are the things that occupy him incidentally. Mademoiselle Bernhardt's voca. tion is acting ; her avocations are painting and sculpture. See AVOCATION.
Voice. Often misused for tone, thus:
“I made no application,” Mr. Henriques broke in in a loud voice, “and when Laidlaw says that I did, he," etc.N. Y. Times.
Should be, “in a loud tone of voice," or “in a loud tone."
" But the words were spoken without the accompaniments of languishing eyes and sympathetic voice [tones]."Hammond.
With tones the “ balance" of the sentence is much im. proved.
Vulgar. By the many, this word is probably more fre